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2014 American Dance Festival Will Include 12 ADF Debuts, 10 World Premieres, and Two U.S. Premieres

Vertigo Dance Company will open the American Dance Festival on June 12th and 13th with "Vertigo 20"

Vertigo Dance Company will open the American Dance Festival on June 12th and 13th with “Vertigo 20”

During its 81st season, which runs from June 12th to July 26th, the American Dance Festival will feature 50 performances by 24 companies and choreographers from around the world, including dance companies from France, Ireland, Israel, and South Africa. The ADF’s “Shall We Dance” season includes 12 ADF debuts, 10 world premieres, and two U.S. premieres.

According to the ADF’s 2014 news release:

“During our 81st season, we offer our audiences an exciting collection of classic, edgy, fun, and groundbreaking work by dance artists from around the world,” said ADF director Jodee Nimerichter. “This summer, we continue to expand our reach beyond performance venues in Durham by commissioning four works to premiere in New York and one in Miami this spring.”

The return of festival favorites, the introduction of festival newcomers, and a wide array of dancerelated opportunities (many of them free) await dance fans this summer. “Shall We Dance” includes dance by both newcomers to the ADF stage, including Carl Flink and Netta Yerushalmy, and return appearances by companies such as Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and Vertigo Dance Company.

Perennial favorite Pilobolus also returns with two commissioned world premieres, while the Paul Taylor Dance Company, comes to [the Durham Performing Arts Center] to celebrate its 60th anniversary with two nights of new and classic works.

The season will also feature the return of John Jasperse Company and Ballet Preljocaj, as well as the ADF debuts of South Africa’s Gregory Maqoma/Vuyani Dance Theatre, Israel’s Niv Sheinfeld & Oren Laor, Ballet Hispanico, Ishmael Houston-Jones & Emily Wexler, Adele Myers and Dancers, Tere O’Connor Dance, and four North Carolina artists chosen by a national panel of judges to present their work in a special shared program, Here and Now: N.C. Dances, in collaboration with the N.C. Dance Festival.

During the final week of the festival, the ADF exclusive program, On Their Bodies, will showcase ADF-commissioned solos choreographed and danced by Ronald K. Brown, Stephen Petronio, Doug Varone, and Shen Wei.

The 2014 Festival performances will take place at the Durham Performing Arts Center (ADF@DPAC), R.J. Reynolds Industries Theater, and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University (ADF@DUKE), and PSI Theatre at the Durham Arts Council (ADF@Offstage).

All performances begin at 8 p.m., unless otherwise noted…. [Ticket p]rices range from $10 to $51, with many savings options available. Tickets can be purchased through the ADF website at . More detailed information about ticket prices and performing companies, including photos, videos, and press reviews, are also available on the website.



Vertigo Dance Company
Thursday, June 12th, and Friday, June 13th, at 8 p.m.

Opening the 2014 season and celebrating twenty years of Vertigo Dance Company’s creations, Noa Wertheim’s festive production Vertigo 20 attempts to re-decipher the secret of time. Vertigo 20, the company’s largest-scale production to date, is a kind of retrospective of Wertheim’s work that moves from real to surreal, from intimate to theatric, from impalpable to tangible. Unique movement language accentuated by wit and hinted sadness takes the spectator on an unexpected and inspiring journey through unknown worlds.

Ballet Hispanico
Friday, June 20th, and Saturday, June 21st, at 8 p.m.
Children’s Saturday Matinee at 1 p.m.

Ballet Hispanico’s fresh repertory melds Latin dance with classical and contemporary techniques to create a new theatrical and passionate style. Led by artistic director Eduardo Vilaro, Ballet Hispanico makes its ADF debut with a spectacular program including Vilaro’s Danzón, a work that takes a traditional and quintessentially Cuban dance form and reinvents it with contemporary movement riffs. Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Sombrerísimo is an athletic tour de force for six men, full of rhythmic agility and stylistic flair. Show.Girl., a new work commissioned by ADF, is the much-anticipated latest creation by ADF audience favorite, Rosie Herrera.

Thursday, June 26th, and Saturday, June 28th, at 8 p.m.
Children’s Saturday Matinee at 1 p.m.

Pilobolus is an ADF audience favorite for a reason. High-octane, accessible, and always unique, this is a company for dance lovers and newcomers alike. This season they will debut two ADF-commissioned works. The first commissioned piece explores the power of iconic bodies to tell a story about the birth of desire and its intertwined connection to shame and revenge. Set to vocal music inspired by the classical baroque period, it is both graceful and riveting to watch. The second work was created in collaboration with writer/director Shira Geffen and Israeli short story, graphic novel, and film writer Etgar Keret, described by Ira Glass of NPR’s “This American Life” as “one of the best known writers in Israel, the kind of writer people call the voice of a generation.” Filling out the rest of the program is Megawatt, a new work commissioned by ADF, is the much-anticipated latest creation by ADF audience favorite, Rosie Herrera. Megawatt, a full-throttle, full-company piece that blends startling energy with an ironic take on the excess state of the world we live in, set to the music of Primus, Radiohead, and Squarepusher. Skyscrapers, Pilobolus’ collaboration with choreographer Trish Sie in a work set against the gritty, saturated colors of LA’s eastside streets. Skyscrapers explores the melancholy, understated elegance of the tango in this quick-change duet.

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet
Saturday, July 5th, and Sunday, July 6th, at 8 p.m.

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet has distinguished itself through both its exceptionally talented dancers and its emphasis on commissioning new works by the world’s most in-demand emerging choreographers. In Violet Kid, Hofesh Shechter examines man’s struggle for harmony within a complex and sometimes horrifying universe. In constant shifts between exhilarating charges and contradictory retreats, victims and aggressors, a glimpse into the essence of existence emerges. Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue by Crystal Pite features dramatic cinematic lighting through which pairs of dancers sweep in and out, playing either the rescued or the rescuer in mesmerizing sequences. Rounding out the evening is a world premiere by Israeli choreographer, Emanuel Gat. Ida ? is a playful contemplation on the nature of human relations. Through continuous shifts and tampering with both visual and aural perceptions, the work explores and questions group behaviors and the navigation of individuals within them. Although an assemblage of complex structures, Ida ? is nonetheless a work revolving around the evidence and immediacy of human presence.

Ballet Preljocaj
Friday, July 11th, and Saturday, July 12th, at 8 p.m.

The 2014 Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for lifetime achievement recipient, Angelin Preljocaj, brings his company, Ballet Preljocaj, to DPAC to perform Empty moves (parts I, II, and III). Empty moves is composed of actions and movements inspired by the words and phonemes read by John Cage at the Teatro Lirico in Milan, recorded live on Dec. 2, 1977. The notion of the alienation effect, of the disintegration of the movement, and of a new manner of choreographic phrasing takes precedence over their meaning and essence. Through these means this dance work connects with text by Henry David Thoreau, which was John Cage’s starting point. This is the U.S. premiere of part III and the U.S. premiere of all three parts performed together on one program. Preljocaj will be presented with his award immediately prior to the performance on Friday, July 11th.

Paul Taylor Dance Company
Friday, July 18th, and Saturday, July 19th, at 8 p.m.
Children’s Saturday Matinee at 1 p.m.

Paul Taylor is one of the greatest pioneers of America’s indigenous art of modern dance. At an age when most artists’ best works are behind them, Taylor continues to win public and critical acclaim for the vibrancy, relevance, and power of his creations. In celebration of Paul Taylor Dance Company’s 60th anniversary, ADF has commissioned a new work, Marathon Cadenzas, set to The Raymond Scott Quintette’s classic recordings of “The Penguin,” “Oil Gusher,” “Minuet in Jazz,” “Girl at the Typewriter,” “Twilight in Turkey,” and “Peter Tambourine.” The work depicts a dance marathon where couples hope to survive to the end to collect the prize. Marathon Cadenzas premiered at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York in March 2014. In addition, the evening will feature well-loved masterworks from the Taylor repertoire.

On Their Bodies
Tuesday, July 22nd, and Wednesday, July 23rd, at 8 p.m.

This one-of-a-kind event, to be performed only at ADF, brings together four of the most respected and accomplished choreographers working today, each performing solos, made for themselves, performed by themselves. Ronald K. Brown makes dances derived from his interpretation of the human condition, referring to numerous cultural sources. His stories and movement express traditional themes of community, ritual, and collective experience. In Brown’s words, he wants his work to represent “all the information that has gone into us—the stories, the history. It is really the human experience.” For nearly 30 years, Stephen Petronio has honed a unique language of movement that speaks to the intuitive and complex possibilities of the body within the shifting sphere of our current time. New music, visual art, and fashion collide in his dances, producing powerfully modern landscapes for the senses. Working in dance, theater, opera, film, television, and fashion, Doug Varone has commanded attention for his expansive vision, versatility, and technical prowess. Varone’s kinetically thrilling dances make essential connections and mine the complexity of the human spirit. From the smallest gesture to full-throttle bursts of movement, Varone’s work can take your breath away. Shen Wei is an intellectual artist and an aesthete. The son of Chinese opera professionals, he was trained from youth in the rigorous practice of Chinese opera, traditional Chinese ink painting, and calligraphy. He eventually found his way to modern dance and became a founding member of the Guangdong Modern Dance Company. His work melds both his background in traditional Chinese arts with new movement vocabularies, making his voice one of the most unique working in the field today.


The Gregory Maqoma/Vuyani Dance Theatre will perform "Exit/Exist" on June 14-16 in the R.J. Reynolds Industries Theater at Duke University in Durham

The Gregory Maqoma/Vuyani Dance Theatre will perform “Exit/Exist” on June 14-16 in the R.J. Reynolds Industries Theater at Duke University in Durham

Gregory Maqoma/Vuyani Dance Theatre
Saturday, June 14th, and Monday, June 16th, at 8 p.m.
In the R.J. Reynolds Industries Theater at Duke University in Durham.

Taking inspiration from his ancestral past, South African choreographer Gregory Maqoma’s moving, evening-length solo Exit/Exist blends storytelling with a powerful dance vocabulary and dynamic live music in an examination of race, political power, and the melding of past and present. Maqoma reveals the history and fate of his ancestor, a 19th century Xhosa warrior, who fought to maintain cultural traditions in the face of colonial rule. Through his signature integration of traditional and contemporary dance, Maqoma invites audiences to reflect on who we are, where we come from, and how all of these facets, past and present, inform our personal and collective identities today.

Here and Now: N.C. Dances
Wednesday, June 18th, at 7 and 9 p.m.
In the R.J. Reynolds Industries Theater at Duke University in Durham.

ADF and the N.C. Dance Festival (NCDF) are delighted to co-present four dance works by North Carolina choreographers. Selected by nationally recognized choreographers Mark Dendy, Adele Myers, and Zoe Scofield, the works of the four chosen artists celebrate dance being created here and now, at home in North Carolina. Renay Aumiller Dances will present Acquiring Dawn, inspired by Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. This work portrays a post-apocalyptic environment, a world of dualities: hope and despair, truth and prophecy, and nature and industry. Gaspard & Dancers work Annatations, by Gaspard Louis, evokes a dream state where the souls that perished in the catastrophic 2010 Haiti earthquake reconnect before moving on to their final destination, a place where all life began. A Place Apart, a tender yet strong duet for two men choreographed by Diego Carrasco Schoch, uses text and Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata to depict intimacy, entanglement, support, and the need for space inherent within relationships. Leah Wilks’ company Vector presents Mess and asks the questions, “How does the body react when the world makes no sense? Does it shut down? Does it ignore or fight back? Does it try to control, to compartmentalize, to make meaning out of nothing? Can it ever learn to let go?”

Adele Myers and Dancers
Monday, June 30th, and Wednesday, July 2nd, at 8 p.m.
In the R.J. Reynolds Industries Theater at Duke University in Durham.

Inspired in part by Adele Myers’ attempt to get over her fear of falling by enrolling in trapeze school, Einstein’s Happiest Thought is a multi-disciplinary work that delves into the charged physical states of risk and anticipation. The title refers to a thought experiment that [Albert] Einstein claimed was the happiest thought of his life, about the different ways we experience the same amount of time and space in relation to gravity. Balances look precarious, and dancers examine concepts of falling: falling down, falling over, falling in love, falling into debt. The work features collaborations with composer Josh Quillen, lighting and visual designer Kathy Couch, filmmaker Emmy Pickett, and dramaturg Ain Gordon.

John Jasperse Company
Monday, July 7th, and Wednesday, July 9th, at 8 p.m.
In the R.J. Reynolds Industries Theater at Duke University in Durham.

ADF will present the North Carolina premiere of Within between, an evening-length work by groundbreaking New York choreographer John Jasperse created in collaboration with the performers, including an original commissioned score by composer Jonathan Bepler and lighting design by Lenore Doxsee. Everything looks like something. But apparently you can’t judge a book by its cover. Despite the interplay and disjunction between essence and appearance, all artistic work uses its perceptual surface (what it looks like, sounds like, feels like…) as a means of transmission. The aesthetics of a work of art speak to the value systems of its author(s), which are in turn formed through the construction of such eternally slippery terms as beauty. In Within between, Jasperse seeks both to embrace and to resist the habits of his own history, to create a cross-pollination or catalytic mating of sensibilities, where the work emerges out of the space between what seems to be distinct terrains. what seems to be distinct terrains. Everything looks like something. But apparently you can’t judge a book by its cover. Despite the interplay and disjunction between essence and appearance, all artistic work uses its perceptual surface (what it looks like, sounds like, feels like…) as a means of transmission. The aesthetics of a work of art speak to the value systems of its author(s), which are in turn formed through the construction of such eternally slippery terms as beauty.

Tere O’Connor Dance
Sunday, July 13th, at 2 and 8 p.m. (FREE!)
At The Ark on Duke University’s East Campus in Durham
Tuesday, July 15th, and Wednesday, July 16th, at 7 and 9:30 p.m.
In the R.J. Reynolds Industries Theater at Duke University in Durham.

ADF is delighted to present, for the first time, four of Tere O’Connor’s interconnected works over the course of three special evenings. Bleed is the culminating work of a two-year project during which he constructed three other pieces, Secret Mary, poem, and Sister, all from very different source material and each with an entirely different cast. He then collapsed these into this fourth work, simultaneously remembering and forgetting the previous dances. All eleven of the performers from the other works are here, yet the movement material is gone. Ghosts of the other dances resonate through the new work and shape its form, but they are subterranean and exert their pressure on this new construction from the caves of memory. There will be a special discussion with the artist, open to the public, on Thursday, July 17th, at 8 p.m. in The Ark on the campus of Duke University. Don’t miss an evening of this stupendous residency! Go ahead; make your way to every event!

Thursday, July 24, and Saturday, July 26th, at 8 p.m.
In the R.J. Reynolds Industries Theater at Duke University in Durham.

Celebrating the most talented emerging choreographers and dancers, Footprints delivers an outstanding presentation of three ADF-commissioned world premieres by groundbreaking artists, performed with impeccable technique and infectious energy by talented ADF students. Minnesota-based choreographer Carl Flink creates work that is intensely athletic and daring with humanistic themes. Dance Magazine describes his work as “… rugged and direct with blunt physicality and provocative themes complexly layered.” Leonie McDonagh is the founder and artistic director of the Irish company, ponydance, with whom she has produced and created several works in progress, short dance films, and five full-length productions. Instinctively interested in the combination of clowning, comedy, and dance, Leonie has developed work with humor that has found universal appeal. ponydance made their ADF debut in 2013 with 10 sold-out performances at Motorco Music Hall. Netta Yerushalmy, based in New York City since 2000, makes work that juxtaposes beauty and power, inventive movement, and disjointed composition to distill the awkward and virtuosic into a distinct aesthetic quality. Eva Yaa Asentewaa from he Village Voice says,”Netta Yerushalmy’s dances, like fresh hot spices, are pungent, potent, head-clearing.”


Niv Sheinfeld & Oren Laor will perform two shows on Tuesday, June 17th, at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham

Niv Sheinfeld & Oren Laor will perform two shows on Tuesday, June 17th, at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham

Niv Sheinfeld & Oren Laor
Tuesday, June 17th, at 7 and 9 p.m.
At the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham

ADF and the Nasher Museum of Art co-present Two Room Apartment by Israeli choreographers Niv Sheinfeld & Oren Laor. Sheinfeld and Laor have recreated the seminal 1987 work Two Room Apartment, which helped put Israeli dance on the map. This award-winning work, originally created and performed by the male and female couple Nir Ben Gal and Liat Dro, has been reworked as a dance for two men. The duet reflects on their relationship as partners in life and as creators. Both personal and political, the work examines boundaries in various contexts: physical borders, such as between territories or between two rooms, but also non-physical borders, such as the one between life and performance, and the boundaries that the individual sets for himself. Limited chair seating is available, but cannot be reserved in advance. Additional seating will be available on the floor, and audience members will also have the option of standing. Performance is approx. 50 minutes.

Ishmael Houston-Jones & Emily Wexler
Tuesday, June 24th, and Wednesday, June 25th, at 7 and 9 p.m.
In the PSI Theatre at the Durham Arts Council.

Choreographer/performers Ishmael Houston-Jones and Emily Wexler will present the N.C. premiere of their first evening-length collaboration, 13 Love Songs: dot dot dot. Separated by a generation — he’s in his 60s, she in her 30s, and differing in gender and ethnicity — male, female; black, white, these two innovative dance artists have found common ground in their mutual belief that the pop love song is corrosive. Houston-Jones and Wexler have researched the lyrics of a trove of pop songs by a host of pop artists as divergent as Bryan Adams and Mary J. Blige, Ja Rule and Stephin Merritt, Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone and, of course, Madonna. They have narrowed their playlist to 13 (or maybe 14 or more); it won’t be pretty; it won’t be polite, but there will be knives.

Additional Performances and Events

Additional performances and events include:

The 2014 Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for lifetime achievement will be presented to acclaimed choreographer and director Angelin Preljocaj prior to the Ballet Preljocaj performance at DPAC on Friday, July 11th, at 8 p.m.. The award carries a $50,000 prize and is given annually to a choreographer who has made significant contributions to the field of modern dance. Linda Shelton, executive director of the Joyce Theater, will present the award.

The 2014 Balasaraswati/Joy Ann Dewey Beinecke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching [Award] will be presented to celebrated educator Irene Dowd in a special ceremony on Sunday, June 15th, at 3 p.m. The ceremony will take place in Baldwin Auditorium at Duke University. Each year, the remarkable and talented ADF Faculty present a concert of their own choreography, performed by ADF students and faculty.

The ADF Faculty Concert will take place on Sunday, July 13th, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. in Reynolds Industries Theater at Duke University. Join the amazing staff of musicians from the ADF School as they share their considerable talent with the entire community at the ADF Musicians Concert on Sunday, June 29th, at 8 p.m. in Baldwin Auditorium at Duke University.

The 19th annual International Screendance Festival will take place over four consecutive Saturdays (June 28th, July 5th, July 12th, and July 19th) at 2 p.m. at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. The festival features films that have been chosen by an international panel of judges and explores the place where cinematography and dance merge. ADF will continue to host panel discussions with visiting choreographers and companies, offer free creative movement classes for youth, and hold post-performance discussions throughout the course of the summer. Kids Corner — The Children’s Saturday Matinee series presents performances by three of the acclaimed professional dance companies that perform during the season. These one-hour performances are specially curated to ignite and inspire the imaginations of children, and each one is followed by a FREE Kids’ Party in the DPAC lobbies, complete with live music, face-painting, snacks, and additional activities. The 2014 Children’s Matinee series will take place at DPAC at 1 p.m. on [Saturday,] June 21st (Ballet Hispanico)[; Saturday,] June 28th (Pilobolus), and [Saturday,] July 19th (Paul Taylor Dance Company). ADF will also continue its Kids’ Night Out program, where all youth ages 6 to 16 receive one complimentary ticket to any evening performance with the purchase of an adult single ticket or subscription.

Dedication to Education

Each year, over 400 dance students and artists from around the world arrive on the east campus of Duke University to discover a world of dance at the ADF School. Under the direction of Dean Gerri Houlihan, the school hosts the Six-Week School (June 12-July 26), the Three-Week School for Young Dancers (July 5-26), and the Dance Professionals Workshop (various dates available).

In the Community

Opened in 2012, the Samuel. H. Scripps Studios provide a much-needed space for ADF to continue its educational programming and outreach throughout the year. Serving as a center for dance in Durham, the studios are dedicated to providing a sound scientific and aesthetic base for students of all ages and levels. Throughout the summer the studios will provide adult classes as well as Saturday classes for children and a one-week dance camp for ages 8-12. Please visit the ADF website for more details on these classes.

ADF Project Dance exposes local youth to dance and performance through free workshops, residencies, and classes for various ages. Led by Gaspard Louis, ADF Director of Creative Movement Community Programs, this program brings the joy of dance to Durham communities that may not otherwise get to experience dance. Stay tuned to the ADF website for ADF Project Dance opportunities.

International Reach

Originally established in 1984, the International Choreographers Residency Program (ICR) is a six-week program designed to foster a vibrant exchange of ideas among artists from around the world, encourage the creation of new dance works, provide immersion into American modern dance, and forge new collaborations. The program runs concurrently with the ADF season and will bring numerous choreographers to Durham this summer from countries including Argentina, Taiwan, and Uruguay. To date, 450 choreographers from 89 countries have participated.

Behind the Scenes

Throughout the summer, ADF Festival Tours offer individuals, families, and community groups a rare opportunity to go behind the scenes of the ADF School and experience the world-renowned ADF faculty and dancers hard at work. Tours are led by ADF staff and give visitors the chance to learn the history of the festival as well as details about the 2014 season. Tours typically last 1 to 2 hours. Please call 919-684-6402 to make your reservation.

Post-Performance Discussions (PPDs) provide a unique opportunity for patrons to meet the festival artists, ask questions, and gain insight into the creators’ work and vision. PPDs take place after select evening performances throughout the summer. Please see the official ADF calendar … for PPD dates.

ADF Archives

In collaboration with Duke University Libraries, the ADF Archives houses films, videos, photographs, and records dating from the early 1930s. The ADF Video Viewing Collection, located in Duke University’s Lilly Library, contains documentary footage of over 80 years of performances, classes, and special events and is open to the public year-round….

About ADF

Founded in 1934 in Bennington, Vermont, ADF remains an international magnet for choreographers, dancers, teachers, students, critics, musicians, and scholars to learn and create in a supportive environment. ADF‘s wide range of programs includes performances, artist services, educational programs and classes, community outreach, national and international projects, archives, humanities projects, publications, and media projects. ADF has been presenting the best in modern dance for over 80 years….

SECOND OPINION: June 12th Durham, NC Herald-Sun preview by Susan Broili: June 9th editorial, and June 7th preview by Susan Broili: (Note: You must register to read these articles); June 11th Durham, NC Indy Week preview by Byron Woods: and; June 9th Durham, NC Five Points Star preview by Kate Dobbs Ariail:; and June 7th Raleigh, NC News & Observer preview by Roy C. Dicks:






VENUES: See above.



ADF@DPAC Events: 919-680-ARTS (2787) or

ADF@DUKE Events: 919-684-4444 or


NOTE: Telephone 919-684-6402 to reserve a large-print program for each event and/or request an assistive-listening device.


Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)

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